How to Motivate Teachers

How to Motivate Teachers

How to motivate teachersQuestion: How can we motivate veteran teachers who are resistant to change, to make the shifts required by Common Core and the Danielson Framework? 
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We asked for your questions, in our last email, and got some great ones! We’re happy to dig into the school-related issues that are challenging you. We ask experts from the field, and bring you their tips to help make your job a little easier! Our last answer, Kindergarten Literacy Tips, can be found here.

Answering your question today are three of our administration instructors, from our Admin program, given in partnership with the College of St. Rose. 

Response 1: Amy J. Goodman, Superintendent of Schools:

Can “Good teaching” be quantified?

I believe the primary question at hand is:  Can “good” teaching be quantified?  If you closely examine the Danielson Framework, it provides a layout of what good teachers do and, especially, what veteran teachers know.  It is based on the constructivist model of teaching, with the curriculum emphasizing big concepts; learning is interactive and not based on repetition.  When done well, it is not “teaching to a test” but “student centered learning.”   Current understanding of students is brought to the forefront.  If our goal as teachers and administrators is to close the achievement gap, then we must focus on the student, which is what the Danielson Framework provides.

How to motivateModel our own Professional Learning Community

As administrators, we need to provide professional development through our own Professional Learning Community (PLC) to model learning activities that teachers can apply in their own classrooms.  The PLC provides long-term support to all teachers and allows for professional development and reflection in a systematic, long-term process.  It is ideal that veteran teachers can be observed and act as coaches in this model.  The PLC ensures that all teachers have the time and guidance to collaborate around the Danielson model of teaching and the common core standards.  

Response 2: Helen Cheliotis, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Reluctant, young or old

In my experience, it is not the veteran teacher who needs to be motivated but the reluctant teacher (young and old).  While some teachers are set in their ways, I found that the veteran teachers were most accustomed to the changes.  

how to motivate teachersSupport/ Empower

 No matter what, it is important to remember that teachers need to feel supported and be provided with the necessary resources to implement change. 

Professional Development

If you need your staff to understand the shifts to common core, think about having each teacher leading a professional development for one of the elements.  This could be done at a faculty or department meeting or during release time.  This way, each teacher is responsible and no one is singled out; everyone understands they are in it together.  Also, if you need to teach something to others you develop a better understanding yourself.



The rest is really up to the administrator to keep staff accountable through lesson plan reviews, informal and formal observations. Remember to deal with each teacher individually if they are not making the necessary changes.  The bottom line, is that the students lose out if the teacher is not doing the right thing.

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Response 3: James Hayden, College of St. Rose Administration program instructor


Based on 33 years in a junior high school (16 as a supervisor), I would see if this veteran teacher would be open to becoming a coach in the city schools or a mentor elsewhere. Don’t forget — if they agreed they would be coaching or mentoring the very ideas they are resisting! Every teacher likes to stand apart, especially a senior one. Giving someone a little responsibility can’t hurt. Another thing you might want to try is having this teacher represent you at district/ statewide meetings  Good luck!


For further reading:

Download a pdf on motivating veteran staff: 

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